Romance studies grad student to publish new book

Francisco Díaz Klaassen, a Chilean writer and doctoral student in the Department of Romance Studies, has a new novel, “The Slope,” coming out this month. The book tells the story of a language and literature teacher dealing with alcoholism and dementia.

“There’s a poem by Constantine Cavafy called ‘The City’ in which the voice tells us that no matter where we escape or move, we’ll bring and carry our failures with us,” Díaz Klaassen said. “I like to think the novel is a bit about that, since it deals with three generations of people who try to start over again only to realize that you can’t ever really start over again.”

Díaz Klaassen, who started writing when he was 12, is the author of five novels: “Antología del cuento nuevo chileno,” “El hombre sin acción,” “La hora más corta” and “En la colina,” as well as the short story collections, “Cuando éramos jóvenes” and “Cuentos yanquis.” In 2011, Díaz Klaassen was selected as one of the 25 “best kept secrets” of Latin American Literature by the International Book Fair of Guadalajara.

Díaz Klaassen studied English literature at Catholic University of Chile and did his master of fine arts in creative writing at New York University. Díaz Klaassen’s second novel, “El hombre sin acción,” was published in 2011 and won the Roberto Bolaño Prize.

“I’d like to take some time off just to read,” Klaassen said about his plans after graduation, “without a map or a set of instructions attached. Just for the sake of it.”

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Photo of Francisco Diaz Klaassen